In Nashville, how do you know a musician is knocking at your door? He says, “Pizza Dude!”
Although funny, there is a lot of truth to this joke because Nashville is flooded with those trying “to make it.” Unfortunately, I see the same thing happening in the world of book publishing. Now that digital media enables everyone the freedom to publish, it creates another problem: everyone is an author.
So how do you stand out in a sea of books?
Fortunately for me, I know what it’s like to work in a saturated market. When I moved to Nashville as a professional bassist, I quickly learned that Music City was home to some of the world’s greatest bassists (see Victor Wooten; Edgar Meyer; Glenn Worf.) Early in my career, I realized that just being good on my instrument wasn’t going to be good enough. In order to survive, I’d have to adapt; the competition was just too intense not to.
As an author, I realized I’d have to apply these same tactics. I asked myself, “What makes me unique?” I reflected on my life and realized I’d met a lot of interesting people and have had some unique experiences. I took these and rewrote my author biography as well as posted others on my blog. At first, I thought I was bragging or sounding a bit pompous, but as Dizzy Dean said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you’ve done it.”
Next, I asked, “Who do I want to be like?” I don’t mean this in hero worship, but in a manner comparable to asking someone to mentor you. Before getting published, I was researching author’s careers and stumbled across Michael Sullivan. I quickly felt a connection because his journey, although further along, was similar to mine. I’ve watched his career grow, and I’m continuing to study his steps, not to clone myself per style, but to learn business tips that worked and avoid those that didn’t. I’d be a fool not to emulate such success.
I’ve just begun this journey and have so much to learn. However, I’ve found that doing these two simple things have given me greater clarity and confidence as a writer. After all, I’d prefer to knock on your door as an author, not as the pizza dude.